Written by Kano Mayumi

How I got my kids to play the piano and practice on their own.【The Method, the tools and the taterials】

Education

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Struggling Mom
“My 5-year-old has been taking piano lessons for half a year now, but I have been struggling to get him practice…Maybe it’s time to give up…”

Kano
“It may be better to try different methods at home, depending on why he/she is struggling.”

I often hear from my friends that their kids are reluctant to get their kids practice the piano. There’s always a reason for this, so it is important to understand why they are not interested in playing and find the right solution to it.
Here I am going to help you motivate your child to play the piano by introducing you to various methods that you may have not tried yet.
I will also tell you how I got my kids to practice on their own.

How I got my kids to play the piano and practice on their own.【The Method, the tools and the taterials】

Here are the steps we will be talking about here.

Step 1. Find out why your child isn’t interested in playing at home
Step 2. Try out some methods to solve this problem
Step 3. Stop taking lessons if your methods aren’t working
Step 4. Try these piano learning apps
Step 5. If there’s a specific song that your child likes, find the sheet music for him/her.
Step 6. Print out a chart to help his sight reading
Step 7. Stay patient for a while and check for improvement
Step 8. Try looking for other things that your child might be interested in trying.

Step 1. Confirm why your child isn’t interested in playing at home

Finding out why your child is reluctant to play is very important when it comes to motivating them. If you are not sure why they aren’t interested, you might be doing the wrong thing to try to get them to play.
I made a list of common reasons for a child to be reluctant to practice.

Reluctant Kid
“I don’t want to practice playing the piano, because…”

1. The teacher doesn’t give time to do the songs he/she likes.
2. Your child has trouble sight reading.
3. The strict and pushy attitude of teachers/parents discourage him/her.
4. Their piano teacher is not to their liking.
5. He/she finds the lesson environment uncomfortable.
6. He/she simply doesn’t enjoy playing the piano.
7. Your child may be busy and has other things to do than to play the piano.

Step 1. Find out why your child isn’t interested in playing at home.

Talk to them and determine the reason they are reluctant.
To avoid discouraging them further, be sure to maintain a cool and kind attitude when talking to them.
If piano practice has become an uncomfortable topic and you are unable to talk to them, jump to Step 4. ;P

Step 2. Try out some methods to solve this problem.

Now that you know the cause for their reluctance, removing that cause is the next step. Since this step is mostly trial and error, you should try out any effective countermeasures that you can think of, and repeat if it was ineffective. However, it is important to think it through before executing your idea. Countermeasures that are poorly thought out can cause more harm than good.
Here are ways to solve the cause if your problem was included in the list I created.
1. Ask the teacher to allow your kid to practice his/her favorite tune. Practicing music they like could be an excellent source of motivation. If your teacher doe not allow this, you may want to consider finding another teacher.
2. Ask the teacher to help your kid with reading music, or apply keyboard and music note stickers on your piano.

Color Piano Stickers w/Complete Notes on Grand Staff for 49/61 / 76/88 Keyboards

Step 3. Stop taking lessons if your methods aren’t working.

At this point, let’s take a break from the piano lessons and go on to Step 4.

Step 4. Try these piano learning apps.

Now that your kid does not have a teacher, let’s try a virtual one! There are countless options for “virtual piano teachers” in the world of educational resources. Actually, I’ve never had my kids take piano lessons, but I have encouraged them to practice on these apps.
Piano Maestro by JoyTunes
This is an app only compatible with the iPad, and is available to download from the App Store.
Place the iPad on the score stand on your piano as the notes flow from right to left on the screen. The beauty of this app is that the app will recognize the notes you are playing, so you can check if you played the music correctly. Piano Maestro is mainly for beginners and amateurs, and the graphics are created accordingly.
I subscribed for recurring yearly subscription for $59.99/year.

Apps similar to Piano Maestro are Piano Dust Buster, or Simply Piano.

Since Piano Maestro only covers the beginner level of playing the piano, your kid may want to try more challenging music. In that case, flowkey(←click to go App Store Preview)is the choice for you, at $19.99/month, $198.99/year or $329.99 for unlimited usage.

(↑flowkey for Kindle
For flowkey Google play website click here
You chan check how it works on your laptop here.

Desperate Mother “Each app calls for subscription to use…right?”

Kano “Yes, but compared to the price of the lessons you have been paying, it is more reasonable to subscribe to these apps.

If you dive in to step #4 from step #1 and found this is working, go back to step #3 and stop taking lessons.

If it is difficult for you to subscribe to these apps, move on to Step 5 and 6.

Step 5. If there’s a specific song that your child likes, find the sheet music for him/her.

If your kid’s skill exceeded the app, or if you can’t find the score he/she likes in the app, get the sheet music. Favorite songs have stellar power to motivate your kid.
Here is the list of websites to find and print free music score for piano. (Note that not all of them are free.)

1. 8notes.com
2. IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project)
3. Pianotte
4. Musescore
5.Musicnotes

Your kid may start practicing, but sometimes don’t, and ask you to get another music.
Get the music and see. You may need to repeat this a couple or more times.
Kids know what they can do and can’t.
Give them chances as much as you can.

Step 6. Print out a chart to help his sight reading.

Along with step #5, search piano keyboard and note diagram online, print out and put it where can be seen while your kid is practicing the piano. You can also download the one I made from link below(click the image and will take you to download page).

If your kid really likes the song and eager to learn to play the music, he/she will voluntarily look it up to read the sheet music.

Step 7. Stay patient for a while and check for improvement.

Now you have done everything you know to help your kid.
Leave them and see.
You may feel like telling your kid “I bought the music score, but but if you don’t practice, it will be a waste money. So, please practice.”, but I recommend not to.
Take it easy and think, “I wish he/she would practice, but it’s OK if he/she don’t…”.
Sometimes your kid won’t touch the piano for more than half a year, but it’s totally fine. My kids have been like , sometimes they got really into it and practice hard, then they had enough and stop practicing. But when they find a new song they want to play, they start practicing again. Repetition of this cycle made my kids play this much…

Step 8. Try looking for other things that your child might be interested in trying.

I believe all kids were born knowing their own mission in their lives.
Instead of waisting time putting too much energy into things that are not your kid’s true mission, I recommend you to help your kid searching for his/her legacy. You can do this while you are waiting for these steps start working.
Find what they truly love and let your kid’s talent flourish!